fumble

1 of 2

verb

fum·​ble ˈfəm-bəl How to pronounce fumble (audio)
fumbled; fumbling ˈfəm-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce fumble (audio)

intransitive verb

1
a
: to grope for or handle something clumsily or aimlessly
b
: to make awkward attempts to do or find something
fumbled in his pocket for a coin
c
: to search by trial and error
d
2
: to feel one's way or move awkwardly
3
a
: to drop or juggle or fail to play cleanly a grounder
b
: to lose hold of a football while handling or running with it

transitive verb

1
: to bring about by clumsy manipulation
2
a
: to feel or handle clumsily
b
: to deal with in a blundering way : bungle
3
: to make (one's way) in a clumsy manner
4
a
: misplay
fumble a grounder
b
: to lose hold of (a football) while handling or running
fumbler noun
fumblingly adverb

fumble

2 of 2

noun

1
: an act or instance of fumbling
2
: a fumbled ball

Examples of fumble in a Sentence

Verb She fumbled in her pocket for her keys. They fumbled a good opportunity to take control of the market. He was hit hard and fumbled on the 20-yard line. He fumbled the ball on the 20-yard line. Noun played the entire piano piece without a single fumble
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Juno Temple was a delight as ‘Fargo’s’ resourceful heroine, and while ‘The Regime’ fumbled its political satire, Kate Winslet committed fully to her ridiculous and flamboyant character. Tracy Brown, Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2024 No separate parts or cumbersome cables to fumble with — just plug it directly into your device and go. Olivia Young, Travel + Leisure, 1 June 2024
Noun
Aho played three seasons at SMU and produced 43 tackles (7.5 for loss), five sacks and two forced fumbles. Mike Kaye, Charlotte Observer, 21 May 2024 In this, his interests overlapped with those of the Soviet supreme command, which wanted to avoid responsibility, and so the secret fumbles of Operation Anadyr were swept under the rug. Sergey Radchenko, Foreign Affairs, 3 Apr. 2023 See all Example Sentences for fumble 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fumble.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Swedish fumla to fumble

First Known Use

Verb

1534, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fumble was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near fumble

Cite this Entry

“Fumble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fumble. Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

fumble

1 of 2 verb
fum·​ble ˈfəm-bəl How to pronounce fumble (audio)
fumbled; fumbling -b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce fumble (audio)
: to feel about for or handle something clumsily
fumbler noun

fumble

2 of 2 noun
1
: an act or instance of fumbling
2
: a fumbled ball

More from Merriam-Webster on fumble

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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